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#59263 - 12/20/05 06:02 PM Survivors and lying
TRACYUK Offline
Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
Is it common for survivors to have problems with telling the truth. It seems to make sense to me that if they have been lied to in a way thats devestated their lives and lived large portions of their lives in denial of the truth that suddenly being expected to live by the truth must be a hard one.

I believe that lying is habitual and that being truthful is the same. Is being truthful a learned skill/difficult to achieve for some survivors??

My partner and I are in a bit of a spat because he has lied to me about something reasonably trivial but after his disclosure 5 months ago of serial unfaithfullness, CSA and a completely secret double life, I have a bit of an issue with him being truthful.

It feels as if its either truth or chaos at the moment (I'm not talking white lies like, no your bum doesn't look big in that, but hiding things).

I didn't use to feel like this and don't feel like this with other people. I've made a decision to trust him again and not get sidetracked by suspicions. But one small lie and I'm scared.

I guess it would help to know whether others have any experience with this and if survivors find being truthful hard. I've made quite a point with him about this and I'm hesitating as to whether I should be more understanding. I think not but am open to suggestions.

Thanks guys

T


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#59264 - 12/21/05 12:23 AM Re: Survivors and lying
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Lying is the only way I got through my early adult life. How else do you stay married and act out?

And that wasn't the only reason for me to lie either, I could lie for England.

It's a hard habit to break, and I often fell into the trap of disclosing a certain amount of information to my wife and keeping some back, usually because it seemed too much at the time.
Then later when the same subject / issue came up again I felt that I had lied by ommission and became very concerned about whether to add more to a subject we'd already discussed. I still have a few things like that hanging around even now. And none of them are serious things at all.

The result of that it that I have ocassionally found myself lying and bullshitting my out of a 'situation' because I feared the consequences of my previous ommissions. How stupid is that?
Very stupid, she knows me too well by now. \:o

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#59265 - 12/21/05 12:28 AM Re: Survivors and lying
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Tracy,

This one could go on for pages. The most basic problem is that many survivors find that a lot of things they have believed about themselves for years are just not true. And a lot of things they believed about others are equally false. And on top of that are enormous guilt and self esteem issues. So, who and what to trust? What if it's all my fault? How will I protect myself? What is the truth after all?

Remember that survivors were usually expert liars as kids; we had to do that in order to keep our secrets and survive.

I don't offer these points as excuses. Just some comments to look at as a possible background to what is happening. Establishing a new truthful and honest relationship, even with someone you love, isn't like turning on the lights; the choice isn't light or dark. I know myself I have stumbled a lot. Not on anything serious, but still...

It is a problem.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#59266 - 12/21/05 01:46 AM Re: Survivors and lying
johnsurvived Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/20/05
Posts: 332
Loc: Arlington, Virginia
Tracy,

If you think about it, it actually makes a fair amount of sense that survivors grow up with a somewhat facile concept of "truth." Almost all of us were, as children, involved in a truth that couldn't be acknowledged. The lesson any boy or girl learns from this is that there are two realities, the one you can't talk about, and the false one, that you can talk about. Creating illusions from words is a core part of our early processing of our abuse experiences. We *had to* make it appear that everything was all right; the danger of letting that slip was so tremendously threatening to any shred of safety we might have felt that it becomes second nature to just keep piling on more and more illusory words. And underneath, we all knew that we were bad -- for being involved in sex so young, for enjoying it, for being liars, for not being the kids our parents wanted us to be. That just made it that much easier. Practice made perfect, and, as noted above, we grew up with a difficult habit to break.

On the relationship side of things, though, it becomes a two-way street and you're certain to feel hurt when your survivor lies to you. My partner has made it entirely clear to me, in no uncertain terms, that being truthful is an essential in our relationship; I know that he is right. He has also quite bluntly let me know how badly I've hurt him with lies in the past. It is important for the two of you to discuss this, for you to make it clear that you're not his abuser but his mate, and that you expect the truth from him no matter how much he thinks it's going to hurt you and/or him to tell you. That's basically what we went through with our co-therapist, and I've managed to stick to it. It has not been easy, for me or for him, but it's getting us through the rocky places.

As Larry says, "It is a problem." And yes, it's very much an abuse-related symptom. Good luck to the both of you.

Hugs,
John

_________________________
Take for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards; for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Solomon 2:15

But let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. Amos 5:24

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#59267 - 12/21/05 01:50 AM Re: Survivors and lying
johnsurvived Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/20/05
Posts: 332
Loc: Arlington, Virginia
Oh, and on the subject of white lies: we're not doing them these days. If bums look big, so be it!

h,
j

_________________________
Take for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards; for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Solomon 2:15

But let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. Amos 5:24

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#59268 - 12/21/05 09:37 AM Re: Survivors and lying
crocyx Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 3
You're not the only one with such experiences. i know exactly what you mean about the lies thing. my boyfriend has a alot of issues with that and it can cause major problems especially when it comes to intimacy. he hides everything. How he feels, what he wants...

I try to remember how he lied about a huge part of his life for so long being honest isn't even natural for him anymore. Maybe it never was.

it's like john said, you have to try and show him you aren't his abuser and that he can be honest with you... i haven't been able to convince my bf of that yet. Maybe he's still adjusting, maybe he doesn't believe me, i don't know. It lookes like your guy is working on it, he talked to you about that other stuff.

good luck.


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#59269 - 12/21/05 12:13 PM Re: Survivors and lying
riviera Offline
Member

Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 59
Loc: Spain
As survivors have already pointed out, lying is another defence mechanism used for protection and survival.

My boyfriend never lied or lies but he used to dissociate a lot ( I am so happy to say 'he used to'). I realized that once the healing started it actually became a problem and a burden for him to keep dealing with life by using dissociation and other defence mechanisms. But it took him time to substitute them for more positive coping skills.

In his case by talking about it, he became more aware of the need to change this. He actually realized that he didn't need to do it any more. He trusted himself enough to speak, to analyse why, to change...

In his case it was more a matter of building trust in himself. Once he built enough trust on the fact that he could do it then most of those mechanisms suddenly disappeared. I guess I helped him by reassuring and validating his feelings, by listening to his frustrations and by trying to understand that he could not change overnight. People in this forum helped me a lot to understand the survivor's position and that was essential for me to keep my strength and my belief on us.

Again this is us. Hope this helps.
XXX
H


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#59270 - 12/21/05 08:39 PM Re: Survivors and lying
TRACYUK Offline
Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
That its not an uncommon issue and for that to be articulated is positive for me. It does seem to come back to safety in many ways.

I bet theres a safe feeling associated with lying. Like you say John and Larry, kids grow up keeping the secret to be safe. Thats bound to move with a person into adulthood. Lie and you'll be safe.

I think focusing on being truthful might be a bit of a red herring. The focus needs to be on creating safety methinks.

I know I've asked this one before but it seems a fundamental one and worth revisiting.

What makes a male survivor feel safe?? Handy tips and hints for the SO's graetfully received.

Love

T


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#59271 - 12/21/05 09:30 PM Re: Survivors and lying
Kirk Wayne Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/05
Posts: 499
Loc: Shrewsbury UK
I lied to survive on the streets and I got good at it and as Dave said "Its a hard habit to break" especially when the lies were bound up in self worth,insecurity, masks and a correct outward impression ie: being normal.

I still find myself doing it today but now I correct myself outloud if in company and that has got easier through the last five years, I have nothing else left to hide.

"What makes a male survivor feel safe?? Handy tips and hints for the SO's graetfully received".

Wow thats a toughy, off the top of my head being taken seriously and listened too without too much interuption


Kirk


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#59272 - 12/21/05 11:13 PM Re: Survivors and lying
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Hi Tracy,

It is helpful for me in situations like this to keep evaluating which issues are mine, his, and ours to fix.

For example-- all your points about lying and safety are well taken. But you can't make him feel safe. It's his issue. Survivors bring their past hurt and experience into all types of "safe" situations. You could drive yourself crazy doing everything to make life safe for your partner-- provide him with the calmest, most supportive relationship environment in history-- and he still might not feel safe.

I'm not saying to forget about being supportive. I'm just saying that we sometimes blame ourselves for things that are out of our hands because the blame is easier to handle than the loss of control.

Likewise, some of the lying problem might be "yours" to fix. My boyfriend and I had an experience like this yesterday-- he went on an errand before work that he didn't mention to me as he was going out in the morning-- and while he was out, he spent a little bit of money.

A few years ago, this situation would have been the result of a deliberate lie. He would have planned the errand and the spending and hidden it from me on purpose-- not because I would be mad about it, just because he always had to have something to hide, and because hoarding money became a weird, obsessive thing with him.

Yesterday it actually made me proud-- he found himself with some extra time and spontaneously decided how he would spend it. He didn't just drive around or come home and watch TV-- he thought about things he needed to do, things that would make him feel that he had accomplished something with his day, things that would be fun for him-- and he did them. That's an incredible step.

I have to choose how to react to not knowing where he was for a while in the morning. Just like I can't make him feel safe in a safe place, because he is so used to feeling unsafe-- he can't make me feel better about the relationship-- I have fears because things were unhealthy for so long and it is up to me to recognize that things have changed and respond to the way it is now.

SAR


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